Record breaking Cyclone Freddy has doubled back on southern Africa, wreaking havoc in southern Malawi where landslides and flooding have killed 190 and left 58,946 homeless.
The government has declared a state of disaster in 10 districts in the south that have been hardest-hit by the storm.
Mudslides have hampered the search for survivors and overwhelmed rescue workers. The government’s disaster relief agency expects the death toll to rise, as many affected areas have been cut off.
“The church has already started responding by providing shelter and food to those whose houses have been destroyed”, commented Tearfund’s Country Director for Malawi, Vincent Moyo. “The church is also providing psychosocial support to the bereaved as they bury the dead”, he said.
Malawi's power supply has been crippled by the storm, with most parts of the country experiencing lengthy blackouts.
Vincent Moyo of Tearfund added:
“In Chikwawa, Tearfund’s partner Eagles are already working with internally displaced people. Those affected have lost their food supplies. Houses have collapsed and kitchen utensils and cooking pots have been washed away in the flood water.”
Tearfund says their partners will be responding with cash transfers for the most vulnerable people, enabling them to equip themselves with the necessities required to withstand this emergency.
The World Meteorological Organization has assessed that Freddy is the strongest tropical cyclone on record and could also be the longest-lasting one.
Edgar Jone, Tearfund’s Country Director for Mozambique, which is also affected said: “Although cyclones are to be expected at this time of year, our experience is that they are becoming much more intense and dangerous as a result of climate change. Being prepared with plans for evacuation and emergency relief is essential to save lives.”